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His brakes squealed. The truck lurched to a stop. The passenger side glass rolled down, its electric motor brrrr-ing.

“Good. You’re back from your walk,” he said in his nicotine-soaked voice.

Not what a girl wants to hear while she’s walking alone in the early morning hours, trying to stave off too many bad dreams. Not from the one who caused the worst of them. I kept walking.

“Alice, stop.”

A new one, calling me by my name. It had a better ring to it than Hey, human.

I’d forgotten his name on purpose. With gusto.

He disappeared into the depths of the truck and rolled back the business window with a snap. Chill tendrils of smoke from the freezer mingled with the fog of his breath. He ducked down and grunted with effort. Then he shoved a body onto the outer shelf.

“Please,” he said.

Since when did this fella beg? Since when did he advertise the people he killed to someone like me? Whatever the problem was, it must be Bad. Bad enough that I needed to know. A danger to me.

He stretched out his arms. Splayed his fingers wide.

Jesus.

I clutched the collar of my raincoat tight and walked over to get a better look, stilettos clocking on the street. The body turned out to be a dwarf’s, too. A kid. Couldn’t have been more than two hundred years old, give or take twenty-five.

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